‘She would really brighten up your day’: Friends, family continue search for missing boaters

MERCER ISLAND, Wash. – The investigation into two missing boaters continues after a boat they were on was found adrift on Lake Washington.

Family and friends taped up fliers with pictures of the missing pair, Vanna Nguyen, 33, and James Le.

"She would just really brighten up your day. She’s always so cheerful. Honestly if you wanted to laugh you’d just go up to her desk,” said Crystal Gonzales who was a coworker of Nguyen.

According to Mercer Island Police, officers responded about 10:30 p.m. Monday (Sept. 2) to reports of loud music coming from a boat offshore in the 7700 block of West Mercer Way.

Officers found the boat -- a red, 20-foot ski-type boat that was still playing loud music. On board the boat, officers discovered the belongings of two people, including cell phones and IDs but no one on the boat.

A truck and boat trailer belonging to Lee were found at Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park in Renton.

Friends and family have told police that Nguyen and Lee were on the boat and are still missing. Both were from the Seattle area, and the missing man had experience in operating this boat, police said.

The Coast Guard suspended the search on Lake Washington Tuesday night.

"We searched extensively with our local partners for two days to locate the two people,” said LT Josh McElhaney, the command duty officer at the Sector Puget Sound Command Center. “Suspending a search is one of the most difficult decisions the Coast Guard has to make, and it is a decision that is made with great care and deliberation. We search for the missing as if one of our own is missing."

Although the active search has come to a stop, Mercer Island Police say the investigation is ongoing.

Investigators are combing through cell phone data belonging to one of the missing persons find a more accurate search area on the water. Once that’s narrowed down, police will consider sending underwater drones, side scan devices and divers.

Lake Washington is 170 feet deep in some areas, and is potentially dangerous even for the most skilled divers, according to police.

Police don’t believe foul play was involved at this time.

The Coast Guard is asking the public to call the Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound Command Center at 206-217-6001 with any information that could help locate the two missing people.

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